21 Kashmiri Food Dishes You Must Try

Kashmiri dishes are a rich blend of flavors with a focus on rice, meat, and aromatic spices.

Lastest Updated April 21, 2024
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Basic Information

Kashmiri Food: Basic Overview

Common Ingredients

Vegetables, mutton, yogurt, spinach, tomatoes, nuts, fruits, rice, beans, all-purpose flour, yeast.

Common Cooking Methods

Boiling, Simmering, Baking, Sautéing, Braising, Slow cooking, Shallow frying, Deep-frying


Main course, appetizer, dessert


Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Key Taste

Sweet, sour, savory, neutral

Eating Etiquette

Eating by hand is customary, sharing meals on dastarkhaans (white sheets spread on the floor), refusing food or an extra helping is considered disrespectful, meals are communal and shared

Meal Presentation

Meals are often served on large dastarkhaans with dishes placed in the center for communal sharing. In formal settings like the Wazwan, dishes are served in a specific sequence ending with desserts like Shufta.

Culinary Festivals

Eid, New Year

Influence and Fusion

Persian influences
Origin and Region

Kashmiri Food: Origin and Region


Kashmir, a state in India

Cuisine’s Geographical Territory

South Asia
Kashmir Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Popular Types of Kashmiri Food

  • Curries

    In Kashmiri cuisine, curries are characterized by their rich and aromatic sauces.

    They are celebrated for their depth of flavor, during festive occasions.

  • Bread and doughs

    Bread and dough-based foods in Kashmiri culture are essential to every meal, ranging from simple, unleavened flatbreads baked in clay ovens to more complex, leavened varieties that are often flavored with local ingredients.

    These breads serve as the perfect accompaniment to rich curries and stews.

  • Vegetarian dishes

    Vegetarian cuisine in Kashmir showcases the region’s abundance of fresh vegetables, legumes, and greens, prepared with a unique blend of spices.

  • Rice dishes

    Rice is the cornerstone of Kashmiri meals, often served as the main dish rather than a side.

    In this cuisine, rice is typically prepared with aromatic spices, nuts, fruits, and sometimes meats, embodying the region’s affinity for combining sweet and savory elements.

Kashmiri dishes are specialties originating from the Kashmir Valley in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, these delights are also a part of Indian food specialties.

They are a rich and diverse culinary tradition that reflects the region’s history and geography. The land from which these dishes spring up lies side by side with the mighty Himalayas and at an average elevation of nearly 2,000 meters above sea level.

Dishes from Kashmir are known for their sophisticated cooking techniques and unique flavors. The cuisine is heavily influenced by the Mughals, as well as Persian, Central Asian, and local traditions.

Rice is the staple food, often accompanied by meat (particularly lamb or goat), vegetables, and yogurt. Kashmiris are known for their love of meat, with mutton being a significant part of their diet.

The cuisine features thin, flavorful gravies without floating oil or masalas and makes extensive use of spices. Bread is not typically part of meals but is consumed with tea.

To uncover more interesting information relating to Kashmiri dishes, I suggest taking a peek through the dining etiquette of locals here along with some drinks pairing to go with the specialties.

Traditional Kashmiri dishes offer a glimpse into a cuisine that is both rich in flavors and steeped in cultural traditions. Here are the key points to take note of:

  • Staple Foods: The staple food in Kashmiri cuisine is rice, often served with meat (primarily mutton), vegetables, and yogurt.
  • High Meat Consumption: Kashmiris are known for their high consumption of mutton, making them one of the highest mutton consumers per capita in the subcontinent.
  • Cooking Techniques: The cuisine features a variety of cooking methods, including slow-cooking and simmering, with gravies that are rich in flavor yet not overly thick or oily.
  • Vegetarian Options: Despite a strong focus on meat, Kashmiri cuisine also offers vegetarian delights, such as rajma chawal, a popular breakfast dish made with kidney beans and rice.
  • Breads: While bread is not typically part of the main meals, it is enjoyed with tea. Kulcha, a leavened bread baked in a clay oven, is particularly popular.
  • Eating Etiquette: Kashmiri meals are often communal, emphasizing the importance of sharing. It is considered disrespectful to refuse food, highlighting the culture’s emphasis on hospitality.

Aside from the traditional aspect, you should take your time to uncover the popularity of these specialties around the world.

The global popularity of Kashmiri cuisine is evident in its widespread appreciation beyond its native region, particularly in countries with a significant South Asian such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and parts of the Middle East.

Renowned for its rich flavors and aromatic spices, Kashmiri dishes have found a place in international restaurants and culinary festivals, appealing to a diverse audience. The cuisine’s signature uses saffron, yogurt, and a variety of spices.

Through food festivals, social media, and online platforms, Kashmiri recipes have reached global kitchens, allowing enthusiasts worldwide to explore its unique tastes.

Aside from the popularity, health is another side that people often discuss when it comes to Kashmiri specialties.

Kashmiri cuisine, known for its rich flavors and aromatic spices, also offers several health benefits due to its unique ingredients and cooking methods. Here’s what makes Kashmiri food healthy:

  • Spices with Benefits: Kashmiri cuisine’s use of turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and saffron offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, aiding digestion and boosting immunity.
  • Lean Protein Sources: Preferring lean meats like chicken and fish, Kashmiri dishes provide high-quality protein with lower saturated fats, supporting cardiovascular health.
  • Probiotic-Rich Yogurt: Many recipes incorporate yogurt, enhancing gut health with probiotics, and providing calcium and protein.
  • Nutrient-Dense Vegetables and Greens: Featuring vegetables and greens, Kashmiri food is rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers, promoting overall health.
  • Healthy Fats from Nuts and Dry Fruits: Incorporating almonds, walnuts, and raisins, the cuisine offers healthy fats, antioxidants, and nutrients for heart and brain health.

Now you’re properly equipped to discover the fascinating culinary creations of Kashmiri cuisine, with interesting flavors and textures.

21 Popular Kashmiri Dishes

To discover the specialties of Kashmir, you shouldn’t overlook the helpful filter that helps you see these dishes in alphabetical order, tastes, key ingredients, cooking methods, dish types, and global popularity.

Plus, I suggest taking a peek through some categories of Kashmir dishes, like the most popular options or even traditional and street food dishes.

  • Highlight the dishes that are widely recognized beyond the Kashmir region.
  • Symbolize the rich culinary tradition of Kashmir, known for their unique blend of spices and flavors.
  • Reflect the culinary heritage and practices that have been passed down through generations in Kashmir.
  • Emphasize the use of local ingredients and traditional cooking methods unique to the Kashmiri culture.
  • Represent the accessible and casual aspect of Kashmiri cuisine, often enjoyed on the go.
  • Showcase a variety of flavors, from savory to sweet, encapsulating the vibrant street food culture in Kashmir.
Rajma Chawal

Rajma Chawal

  • Traditional

Rajma chawal is a great vegetarian curry and rice of Kashmiri, often enjoyed as a breakfast item in many Kashmiri houses. The dish is all about cooking red or kidney beans (rajma) in pureed tomatoes and onions before arranging them with rice (chawal).

Ideally, the broth of this curry is relatively thick thanks to the long cooking process of the beans. Plus, the addition of spices give rajma chawal a vibrant orange-brown color.



  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Kulcha is a leavened bread in Kashmir, often baked in a clay oven for a golden brown surface. This flatbread is a perfect duo for combining with many Indian curries.

Aside from the plain and doughy version, this round flatbread comes with fillings like cheese, meat, or vegetables. The bread is popular in North India thanks to its soft and fluffy texture for dipping in many dishes.

Kashmiri Pulao

Kashmiri Pulao

  • Traditional

Kashmiri pulao is a rice dish from Kashmiri cuisine that brings together saffron, spices, and broth. It is garnished with fried onions, nuts, raisins, and fresh fruits for a mildly sweet and aromatic dish.

This aromatic rice dish is believed to have a Persian origin and is popular in North India. This dish is often enjoyed on special occasions and is known for its delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Modur Pulao

Modur Pulao

  • Traditional

Modur pulao is a rather sweet Kashmiri rice thanks to plenty of dried fruits and nuts. The rice is full of spices infusing every grain with golden saffron.

Interestingly, the rice is often cooked with a lot of ghee to keep the dish from drying. To balance the creaminess of modur pulao, you can pair it with something spicy.

Kashmiri Saag

Kashmiri Saag

  • Traditional

Kashmiri saag is a dish of lightly cooked greens, such as spinach, with coconut, garlic, and spices. The green specialty is best eaten with rice or roti. As a Kashmiri version of saag, it adores the Persian influence. Kashmiri saag is mildly sweet and aromatic and can be made in a pressure cooker.

Kashmir Fermented Bread


  • Traditional

Khambir is a type of bread in Ladakh, a region in Kashmir in northern India. It is made of whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and sugar, and baked in a clay oven. The bread possesses a thick, round, and brown appearance along with a crispy crust. It is usually eaten for breakfast with butter tea, a beverage made of tea leaves, butter, salt, and yak milk.

Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh

  • Traditional

Rogan josh is a curried meat dish from Kashmir, a region in northern India. This savory and brothy creation is made with lamb, mutton, or goat, and has a rich and aromatic red sauce.

The sauce is flavored with garlic, ginger, spices, and Kashmiri chilies, which are mild and paprika-like. As a traditional dish of Kashmiri cuisine, Rogan josh is usually served with rice or bread and is part of the Kashmiri multicourse meal called wazwan.

Dum Aloo

Dum Olav

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Dum olav, or dum aloo, is a vivacious vegan curry boasting a spicy taste.

In Hindi, “dum” is “slow-cooked”, while “aloo” means “potato”.

Cooking Dum Aloo involves carefully braising potatoes with onions, veggies, and spices for hours, usually in the traditional cooking basin, Handi.

There are many ways to improve the flavor of the curry, such as deep-frying the potatoes before cooking or adding yogurt to the Handi. The best potato is to cook dum aloo with baby potatoes for extra sweetness.

Aab Gosht

Aab Gosht

  • Traditional

Aab gosht is a traditional Kashmiri mutton curry characterized not by a spicy taste but by its tender milky meat.

People prepare aab gosh by first cooking mutton with spices until tender. Then, they simmer it with milk to create a creamy curry.

To bring out the best flavor of aab gosht, you should enjoy the succulent, aromatic meat with plain steamed rice.

Nadru Yakhni

Nadru Yakhni

  • Traditional

Nadru yakhni is a curry dish in Kashmir centering around lotus stems, yogurt, and spices. The dish is a mild and creamy curry served with rice or roti.

Commonly, lotus stems are cooked until tender and then simmered in a yogurt-based sauce that is flavored with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, aniseed, ginger, and salt. Thanks to the appearance of yogurt, the broth of nadru yakhni offers a semi-thick texture.

Khatte Baingan

Khatte Baingan

  • Traditional

Khatte baingan is an eggplant curry from Kashmir cooked in a spicy and sour gravy. The dish is made with tomatoes, tamarind, jaggery, and spices like fennel, nigella, and ginger for a thick texture.

Khatte baingan can be served with rice, or roti, thanks to the addictive sauce. The key feature of this dish is its sourness (khatte), typically achieved through the use of tamarind, yogurt, or sometimes raw mango powder (amchur).



  • Traditional

Matschgand is a Kashmiri dish of cylindrical ground meatballs cooked in a spicy red gravy. With the sauce as the main highlight, the dish is flavored with Kashmiri chilies, fennel, ginger, and other spices.

The dish is best presented warm, along with rice or roti for combining with the gravy.

Shab Deg

Shab Deg

  • Traditional

Shab deg is a Kashmiri dish of turnip and mutton stew, cooked slowly overnight in a sealed pot. The name means “night cooking pot” in Persian, and reflects the long and slow cooking process.

Originally, shab deg was prepared by mothers to feed their families and neighbors in the cold winters.

Nadru Ke Kebab

Nadru Ke Kebab

  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Nadru ke kebab is a traditional lotus root kebab originating from Kashmir. These crunchy specialties are made with boiled and minced lotus stems, potatoes, spices, and herbs.

The mixture is then formed into patties for shallow frying. It is a vegan and gluten-free snack for serving with green chutney or a spicy gravy.



  • Traditional

Haakh is a traditional Kashmiri side dish made from lightly cooked greens, such as spinach, infused with coconut, garlic, and spices. Enjoyed with rice or roti, this simple, healthy dish is prepared in a pressure cooker to preserve its nutrients.

Characterized by its mild sweetness and aromatic flavor, haakh is a straightforward dish in Kashmiri households.

Lyodur Tschaman

Lyodur Tschaman

  • Traditional

Lyodur tschaman is a Kashmiri specialty with paneer as the main ingredient, a South Asian cottage cheese derived from buffalo milk. In this dish, paneer is delicately melted with a carefully selected blend of spices, including vibrant turmeric and fiery local red chilies.

Also, the addition of heavy cream thickens the mixture into a creamy, indulgent sauce. The result is a creamy creation for serving with various delicacies.

Tabak Maaz

Tabak Maaz

  • Traditional

Tabak maaz is a classic culinary creation of Kashmiri delicacy, serving as a part of the multi-course feast known as Wazwan. This dish consists of tender lamb ribs, meticulously cut to ensure the meat remains on the bones.

The preparation involves a two-step cooking process, with the ribs being simmered in a flavorful mixture. Then, they are deep-fried until the exterior turns delightfully crispy.

Tabak maaz is best enjoyed with rice or bread to savor the flavorful sauce and the meat of the ribs.

Rista Meatball


  • Traditional

Rista is a key element of Kashmiri cuisine, particularly noted in the lavish Wazwaan feast. This dish features finely minced lamb enhanced with local saffron.

These meatballs involve combining a spiced lamb paste, which is then browned and simmered in saffron-laced lamb stock. Often, these rista meatballs are served directly in a savory sauce of red color.

Mutton Meatballs


  • Traditional

Goshtaba is a celebrated Kashmiri delicacy of mutton meatballs simmered in a spicy yogurt gravy. This dish holds a place of honor in significant ceremonies and functions, notably the grand wazwan feast.

Traditionally served as the final meat course before dessert, declining Goshtaba is culturally seen as an affront to the host’s hospitality. Rich and deeply flavorful, it pairs great with rice or bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.



  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Sheermal is a traditional Kashmiri bread, known for its slightly sweet flavor and soft, rich texture. Originating from the Persian culinary tradition, sheermal is a saffron-flavored flatbread with a distinctive richness.

The addition of saffron not only imparts a beautiful golden hue but also a subtle aroma and taste, making sheermal a delightful accompaniment to both savory and sweet dishes.

In Kashmiri cuisine, it is often served alongside dishes like rogan josh or enjoyed with tea. Its preparation involves baking in a tandoor or oven, resulting in a tender crumb.

Kashmiri Shufta

Kashmiri Shufta

  • Traditional

Shufta is a traditional dessert from Kashmiri cuisine, celebrated for its rich and vibrant mix of flavors.

This delicately sweet dish is a festive amalgamation of dry fruits and nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews, combined with candied fruits, all coated in a syrup made from sugar, saffron, and various spices including cardamom and cinnamon.

Shufta is often prepared during important Kashmiri festivals and celebrations, serving as a symbol of hospitality and generosity.

What Is the Dining Etiquette in Kashmir?

The dining etiquette in Kashmir reflects the region’s rich cultural heritage and the communal spirit of its people. Here are the features that are crucial to dining in Kashmir:

  • Communal Spirit and Sharing: Kashmiris value communal dining and sharing, with food being a central part of their identity.
  • Culinary Traditions: Traditions, such as newlyweds making roti together, emphasize cooperation and shared responsibilities in food preparation.
  • Taste and Chef Recognition: Locals pride themselves on discerning the taste and origin of dishes, even identifying chefs by taste.
  • Resistance to Recipe Alterations: There’s strong resistance to changing traditional recipes, as seen in reactions to suggestions like vegetarian wazwan.
  • Importance of Presentation and Aroma: The success of a meal is judged by its appeal to the eyes, nose, and then the tongue.
  • Community and Hospitality: Food-related social events strengthen community bonds, showcasing Kashmir’s hospitality.
  • Dastarkhaans: Meals are served on giant white sheets spread on the floor, symbolizing warmth and conviviality.
  • Large Gatherings: It’s common to host large gatherings, celebrating food as a celebration of life itself, especially in times of adversity.
  • Eating by Hand: Customary in Kashmir, reflecting an intimate relationship with food and a no-waste approach.
  • Generosity and Persuasion: Refusing food or extra help is considered disrespectful, with hosts often persuasively offering more.

Once you’ve wrapped your head around the etiquette needed for a dinner in Kashmir, you should uncover the perfect pairing of beverages to have with these specialties.

What Kashmiri Dishes to Have with Beverages?

When enjoying beverages with Kashmiri cuisine, certain pairings can significantly enhance the dining experience by complementing the rich and aromatic flavors of the dishes. Here are some recommended pairings:

  • Wazwan and Whisky: The traditional Kashmiri wazwan, known for its slow-cooked meat dishes, pairs wonderfully with whisky. The spicy notes of the whisky complement the complex flavors of the wazwan dishes.
  • Goshtabeh and Sancerre Wine: The delicate flavors of Kashmiri goshtabeh, a meat dish, are enhanced by the crisp and mineral sancerre wine from the Loire Valley, which balances the dish’s richness.
  • Roghan Josh and Fruity Red Wine: The hearty and full-bodied roghan josh, a signature Kashmiri curry, goes well with a ripe fruity red wine. The robust flavors of the curry are matched by the wine’s body and fruitiness.
  • Montepulciano Wine: For a versatile pairing, try a glass of Montepulciano with various Kashmiri dishes. This Italian wine, known for its soft tannins and plum flavors, complements the rich and aromatic profiles of Kashmiri cuisine.

Don’t forget to share these Kashmiri specialties if you like them. Any comment or question will be greatly welcome!

Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott

Editor in Chief, Senior Content Writer


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Western Food Evaluation Expert


Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Gained foundational knowledge in French and European culinary techniques. Participated in workshops and hands-on training sessions under the guidance of seasoned chefs.

Local Community College, New York, NY

  • Program: Associate’s Degree in Nutrition
  • Focus: Acquired basic understanding of nutrition principles, dietary needs, and the importance of balanced diets in daily life.

Jamie Scott is a skilled culinary expert and content creator specializing in Western cuisine. With over 15 years in the culinary field and formal training from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, Jamie deeply understands how to blend nutrition with delicious flavors. His passion for cooking matches his commitment to making healthy eating accessible and enjoyable.

On Fifteen.net, Jamie brings a fresh perspective to classic dishes and beverages, offering readers insightful recipes, cooking tips, and a fresh view on meal planning that emphasizes taste, health, and simplicity.

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